India police detain three, including TV actress, after diamond trader found dead in forest

Police investigations and call data records have revealed that Mr Udani was a regular at some bars and in touch with several women, including from the glamour and entertainment industry


Published: December 09, 2018 15:58:03 | Updated: December 13, 2018 15:08:00


Rajeshwar Udani (L), a diamond trader based in Ghatkopar, had gone missing on November 28; Devoleena Bhattacharjee (R), 28, is an award-winning actress seen in several Indian TV serials

A former aide of a Maharashtra minister and a policeman were among those arrested in connection with the murder of a diamond trader, who was found dead in a forest in Maharashtra's Raigad district on Friday, the police said. A popular television actress and model has also been detained in the case.

Rajeshwar Udani, a diamond merchant based in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, had gone missing on November 28. The 57-year-old's body was found in a forest in Panvel in Raigad district, 10 days after he went missing.

The police have identified the accused as Sachin Pawar -- a former personal assistant of Maharashtra minister Prakash Mehta -- while another accused, Dinesh Pawar, is a suspended police constable who was arrested earlier in a rape case.

Television actress Devoleena Bhattacharjee, known for her role as Gopi Bahu in the popular Hindi serial "Saath Nibhana Sathiya", was detained after several hours of questioning, the police said.

Law enforcers have not revealed her role in the case but hinted that some more women from the entertainment industry may be called for questioning.

Police investigations and call data records have revealed that Mr Udani was a regular at some bars and in touch with several women, including those from the entertainment industry, through Sachin Pawar, who has worked with Maharashtra Housing, Labour and Mining Minister Prakash Mehta.

The minister admitted that Sachin Pawar worked with him from 2004 to 2009. He, however, said he had severed all links with him after he was sacked from the BJP for contesting a civic body election in Mumbai as an independent candidate.

Nearly a week after he went missing, Rajeshwar Udani's family registered a kidnapping case.

His driver told the police that on the day he went missing, Mr Udani wanted to be dropped near a market. The driver saw him getting into another vehicle.

Mr Udani's body, without any apparent injuries, was found late on December 5, according to NDTV.

Investigators suspect Rajeshwar Udani's kidnappers may have killed him at some other location before dumping the body in the Panvel forests. The police have questioned two dozen people and are on the lookout for the vehicle that picked him up the day he went missing.

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